The Gun Control Debate
I don’t normally write about “political issues” here on ThruMyLens – in fact, I don’t normally write about political issues at all. But in light of recent events, I must take the only action I can think of to try to alter the current group-think which is perpetuating the notion that we need more gun control in the US. I’m going to trying to make a compelling argument and educate people in the process.
On Friday, December 14th, our nation had to endure the horrible tragedy of yet another mass shooting in Sandy Hook, CT. Almost immediately and out of the understandable emotion of loosing so many innocent children to a crazed gunman, citizens and politicians alike began calling for more gun control. Specifically, a return of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban (which expired in 2004) and limitations on firearm magazine capacity. Unfortunately, this line of thought (often referred to, ironically enough as “common sense” gun control) is based on emotion and not logic.
Before I explain, let me try and establish a bit of credibility – while I’m not a law enforcement officer or prior military, I do have a considerable amount of defensive training – about 100 hours worth with firearms. I’ve also had very specific training on the topic of Active Shooters/killers, and how to deal with them. I practice weekly with my firearms and probably shoot about 1000 rounds per month. I’m also a concealed carry permit holder. If you’re pro-gun control, please don’t stop reading because you think my background and experience biases my opinion – instead, consider it an informed opinion. Far more informed than the liberal media who are so ignorant about what it is exactly they want to ban that for the past several days they’ve been calling for bans and restrictions on high capacity “clips.” I’ll give you an example taken from: http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/newtown-connecticut-mass-shootings-blame-192700959.html
Data from 2011 shows that the majority of Americans support bans on high-capacity ammunition clips (which hold more than 10 bullets) and on AK-47-style assault rifles, think that all gun purchasers should undergo background checks to see if they’ve ever committed a felony, agree that gun-owners should have to register their weapons with local government, and that the mentally ill should not be allowed to possess firearms. According to a CNN survey taken after the Aurora, Colorado shooting earlier this year, a slim majority of Americans — 54 percent — are opposed to limiting the number of guns a person can own; when new polls are conducted, they will show if sentiments have changed after the Newtown tragedy.
The paragraph above states that “Americans support bans on high-capacity ammunition clips (which hold more than 10 bullets)…” Most reporters (and sadly politicians) who report on these issues are so ignorant, they don’t know the difference between a clip and a magazine. That’s because the loudest and strongest liberal voices calling for everything from a return of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban to an outright repeal of the entire 2nd Amendment know next to nothing about firearms. Most don’t own any and have never used any. Do they know exactly what an “assault weapon” is? Do they even know the difference between an AR-15 and an AK-47? So keep these things in mind when you consider whom you will listen to on this rather complex subject – those that have some knowledge on the topic, or those who don’t even know exactly what it is they’re trying to restrict or ban.
So is “gun control” common sense? Not to me it isn’t. It’s completely illogical. We had legislation in place which many are calling for renewing (the previously mentioned Assault Weapons Ban) for a decade. And the fact of the matter is that there was no significant impact on violent crimes during the 10 year period the legislation was in effect, and crime did not go up after it expired. In fact, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied the “assault weapon” ban and other gun control attempts, and found “insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws reviewed for preventing violence.”
Until such a time that we can completely eradicate the evil which exists in the hearts of man (be that mental instability or rational and calculated malevolence) we have to come to terms with the fact that mass killings can and will happen. Liberals love to point to other “civilized” nations which have taken guns out of the hands of the civilian population as the model for the US – but violent crime still happens in these nations, and at rates even higher than what we experience here in the US. Brittan for example has extremely restrictive gun control laws in place, yet according to this 2009 UK article, they have more violent crime than does the US. At nearly the same time US news agencies were reporting on the Sandy Hook school shooting, China’s state-run news agency Xinhua said in a report that a 35-year-old-man suddenly went on a stabbing rampage on Friday, inflicting cuts and bruises on 23 residents–22 of which are students aged 8 to 12 years old on their way to school. In short, there’s no conclusive evidence to support restricting or banning firearms will in any way deter violent crime. So where is the “common sense” in creating new laws and restrictions on firearms?
“Well Ok John…we know we can’t rid the world of evil. But surely “common sense” gun control will make a difference right? I mean, if the Sandy Hook active shooter would have had smaller magazines, he would have had to reload more, and that would have given others a chance to stop him.” Really? Because it would appear as though the Sandy Hook shooter fired enough rounds that he had to have performed at least a few magazine changes – at least three by my count, if not more. Those magazine changes didn’t seem to deter him in the least. At this point, we do know that several unarmed individuals (such as the school Principal Dawn Hochsprung) did bravely leap at the shooter or made other efforts to intervene…and died trying. In almost every active shooter case we’ve seen, they have at least one if not several back up weapons they can use if confronted while reloading their primary weapon. And reloading a firearm is neither complex nor time consuming – a reload can be performed efficiently and effectively with minimal practice. Limiting magazine capacity does not help to save lives and does not solve the problems we face.
So if restricting guns and/or magazines, or outright banning guns doesn’t significantly impact these mass shootings, what will? If you take the time to study mass shootings (something I’m rather convinced most control advocates have not done), two things become abundantly clear:
1)In almost every case recorded, Active Shooters pick “gun free” zones to carry out their plots. Schools, churches, and other public places where it is illegal for a law-abiding citizen to have a gun.
2)In almost every case on record, Active Shooters do not stop their rampage until they meet with armed resistance which results with their committing suicide in most cases.
Logic and “common sense” would seem to dictate some rather obvious answers here. Criminals look at “gun free” zones as victim rich targets of opportunity. No guns means no resistance. We need to eliminate gun free zones, particularly in schools. Am I suggesting that students should be free to bring guns to school? Absolutely not – but if you’re a legal gun owner and/or a licensed concealed carry permit holder, then there should be nothing restricting you from walking into a school with a gun. If you’re a teacher or administrator who can legally own and/or carry a gun, then you should be able to do so. I’d love to suggest that armed resource officers (at least two) should be placed at every school, but the reality is that many if not most school systems could not afford that option, so relying on other staff and citizens willing to arm themselves seems to be the only realistic option. Liberals make the argument that banning firearms or limiting magazine capacity in theory should help save lives or maybe will help. I would argue that we have several cases which demonstrate with absolute certainty that the presence of an armed citizen did make a difference and saved lives, as recently as the Portland Oregon mall shooting which took place just days before the Sandy Hook incident. Without a doubt, the presence of armed citizens in formerly gun free zones would a strong deterrent to those that would perpetrate evil, and stop short those who were not otherwise convinced.
I don’t believe that these two suggestions represent all that needs to be done to eliminate the problems that we face in this country and around the world. There are tremendous challenges to diagnosing and treating the kind of mental illnesses which likely was a factor in Sandy Hook, and other earlier incidents – we need to redouble efforts in this regard. Again, I don’t think we’ll ever completely eradicate mental illness or evil intentions. So we have to meet that reality head-on, and make the choices which are proven to save lives vs. the decisions which have proven to have no measurable positive impact.
The liberal interests which seek enact tighter, more restrictive gun control legislation like to point their finger at we conservative, NRA supporting types and say things like “if you really cared about the children, you’d give up your guns!” So let me leave you with this thought: Alcohol related deaths take far more lives than guns do. I personally believe it’s the height of hypocicy for the left to preach about how much they care about kids while ignoring the alcohol issue. “Here, hold my drink a second…I have to take that guys gun from him.” We’ve all heard the horror stories about how an intoxicated driver kills a child or an entire family. But for some reason, in these instances our society places accountability squarely with the individual. Whether it be counseling or incarceration, our society blames the individual irresponsible use of alcohol, and does not punish all uses of alcohol when these incidents occur. Yet, when someone misuses firearms, the calls go up to ban them.
I have a son I love deeply. And a loving wife. And other family and friends I’d gladly lay down my life for if it meant saving theirs. I’ve been accused of living in fear because I live with guns. But fear is cowering and hiding when action is called for…myself and others like me run toward the sound of gunfire while others flee. It is out of fear of the unknown which makes people want to restrict the sheep dogs which can keep the sheep safe from the wolves, and ban the tools they need to do the job. It is out of fear that people think that more laws will keep them safe from those that are lawless. Don’t live in fear. More gun laws are not the answer.